When it Comes To Digital Marketing, Novice Sailors Can Navigate Calm Waters But Rough Seas Require Expert Sailors...

By R. W. Hurst, President, The Electricity Forum

sailing through rough seas

Yes, the current business storm is increasingly difficult to navigate because of the Covid-19 pandemic. So, why is it a bad time to cut your advertising budget?

History has a great way of teaching us lessons. During tough economic times, it might seem logical to make cuts to your advertising budget, but in reality, that’s not a sound idea, as it actually hurts your business. By staying the course, it’s essential to keep your brand and business in the forefront of your customer’s mind, so when this storm has passed (and it will) you will be in a better marketing position that your competitors who chose to hunker down, go into hiding and wait for the storm to pass.

The Lesson: An effective advertising strategy should actually help you increase sales, in good weather AND in bad weather, too!


Effects of Advertising Budget Cuts

From the early 1900s until today, history has shown that effective and thoughtful advertising can help your business increase sales no matter the recession. For example, during the 1923 recession, a study published in the Harvard Business Review (April 1927) showed that “the biggest sales increases were by companies that advertised the most.” To keep that trend going, a study of the 1949, 1954, 1958, and 1961 recessions by Buchen Advertising Inc. showed that “sales and profits dropped for companies who cut back their advertising” and once the recession cleared, the companies who were cutting back actually fell behind their counterparts who had maintained their ad budgets.

Study after study has shown similar results, so there’s definitely truth to it. Any money your business may save through budget cuts more than likely will be negligent, due to a decrease in exposure, traffic, leads and more important, SALES!


Practice What We Preach: Effective Digital Marketing

Just because you might be on a tight budget, doesn’t mean cutting your digital advertising budget. Like I said, there’s history on your side. Ensure that you have a solid plan in place during both easy AND difficult times.. But especially in difficult times, make sure you are maximizing the effects of your digital advertising investment.

Here’s some tips to consider before your choose to cut your digital advertising budget.


Don’t Waste Money

First and foremost, there is a BIG difference between spending money and wasting money. Don’t waste money. Investing in click-generating campaigns? Great. Are you sure that your investment is getting you “Quality Clicks” that land on the most effective landing pages that are designed an incentivized to produce the right quantity AND quality of leads? Yes, that sounds incredibly simple, but if it was that easy, I wouldn’t mention it. Basically what I’m getting at is not throwing money in areas that don’t focus on your target audience. Here’s a good focus when it comes to REAPing the benefits of digital advertising:


  • Reinforce your brand name
  • Expose your products and services
  • Attract potential customers to your website
  • Prospect for new business


Are your existing digital advertising campaigns driven by that philosophy?

Make sure you invest your campaign on the RIGHT target audience, with a campaign that is properly focused on generating a response, with the right calls to action, that lead to a response that you can act on.


The Electricity Forum has a suite of effective digital advertising and content marketing products to suit your budget, that deliver quality exposure, traffic and sales leads.


Utilize Proven Action-Oriented Digital Marketing Campaigns

Have you considered an action campaign? They are a great way to target your audience through a succinct message that generates an action. If you’re having a grand opening, promoting a new product or running an incredible sale, invest in an action campaign that gives your audience all the information they need to act, and present a value proposition and inventive to Act Now!


Communicate Clearly

Since you’ll be watching your budget extra carefully and dissecting each move you make with surgical precision, it’s imperative to make sure your messaging is clear, concise and appealing to your target market. You’ll also want to make sure that your call to action is solid. Remember, your call to action is a key component to your action campaign. Much like your messaging, your call to action needs to be clear, concise and powerful.


Build Relationships based on

  • Budget
  • Authority
  • Needs
  • Timeframe


Building a solid relationship with your customer means listening and focusing your proposal, based on what they tell you about their budget, whether they have the authority to make a purchasing decision, what their most important needs are, and what timeframe they are most likely to act. The greater their “pain”, the shorter their timeframe. Be prepared to act upon this information with a product proposal at the right price, at the right time, to solve their more pressing problem.


Our Electricity Forum representatives are willing to listen to you, assess your digital marketing objectives, and recommend a package of digital advertising and content marketing solutions to suit your budget.


It can be incredibly stressful when times are tough and sales are falling and budgets are shrinking. I get that. But that doesn’t mean you should give up on digital advertising. Like I mentioned earlier, there is proven success in staying the course.


Capitalize On Opportunities

Here’s another thought to ponder. Every crisis brings opportunities. Are you able to adapt your business to changing conditions?

A recession or economic downturn might actually provide an excellent opportunity to launch new products and strengthen your relationship with your customers, based on their changing needs. Sounds weird, right?

In a study titled “Innovating Through Recession,” Andrew Razeghi notes that a recession is the perfect time to “invest in your customers,” saying it’s a time when they need you the most and loyalty hangs in the balance.

“At a time when consumer sentiment is nearly at an all-time low, rather than reduce customer service, use this time to get closer to your customers, connect with them on a deeper level, and show them what’s possible – what the future will hold,” he wrote.

You want your customers to see that you’re still there. If they see that your business is staying positive in tough times, it shouldn’t be surprising that they’d want to stand by you.


The Lesson?...Steady the Helm and Stay the Course

Cutting your digital advertising budget during tough times might seem like the best option when looking at line items on your budget, but don’t let that fool you.

Top digital marketers see opportunities and ways to move forward, ahead of the competition.

Just make sure you don’t make the wrong move. Make sure you chart the right course through rough seas - make the right move.

Staying the course through bad economic times will ensure that you stay upright and increase sales.


Don’t hesitate to contact me to learn more about how The Electricity Forum help craft your strategies.

R.W. (Randy) Hurst


The Electricity Forum